Other Topics FAQ
Q: I am from Germany and I am studying midwifery. I have seen your dvd "Birth As We Know It" and I was deeply impressed! I was wondering if there are still existing birthcamps at the Black Sea and if it would be possible for me to pay a visit at such a camp to gain some experience?
If not, if you know other midwifes who assist in births at the sea and with dolphins?
ET: Unfortunately, these birth camps do not exist anymore. Natural birth was outlawed in Russia 4 yrs ago and is now illegal. We are trying to organize it elsewhere in the world, but have not find a place yet. Thank you for understanding this important issue!
In Hawaii the water is too cold and waves are too big and rough, and where it's not rough. It's a public beach, therefore there’s too many people, and waters are not clean enough. Cleanliness is very important. We were incredibly lucky in Russia at the time of our "birth camps" at the Black Sea because there was no problem with pollution or sharks. There are no big sharks there, only tiny ones.
The good news is: the best place to give birth is right where you are, where your home is. Traveling with a newborn after giving birth is also a really bad idea! Babies should not be transported for many, many reasons. Airplanes and airports are very harmful for babies.
There really is no need to be in physical proximity to dolphins to have this beautiful experience. You can have an ecstatic dolphin birth right in the convenience of your own home, without going anywhere.
If you will decide to fly somewhere, I would advise you to connect with local midwives directly first, interview them on the phone. Do they have a waterbirth experience, in the ocean? How much they will charge, where you could stay, who is going to feed you?
I looked in many places and currently have not found a safe, comfortable place for birthing in Nature. Here is a mandatory criteria for a sacred Birthing Field: the water needs to be clean, calm, warm and private, with no strangers around. I know many women who live on the Big Island of Hawaii, who had given birth in their bath tubs, at home, in the back yards, not in the ocean, for that exact reason: there was nowhere else to go!
Those women in Hawaii had absolutely wonderful dolphin births, but not in the ocean. It's all about frequencies, anyway; about the direct connection with dolphins that can be achieved anywhere, at any time; that's what we did in the dead of winter in Siberia: had beautiful dolphin births! You can meditate and connect with them very closely.
Please also consider this:
Airports and airplanes are highly chaotic, toxic places, contaminated with negative energy, germs and such. Plus, people are going through x-rays in security gates and during the flight are subjected to high radioactivity due to high altitudes (unprotected exposure to the sun's radiation). A baby does not belong there; he or she is so open and vulnerable in the beginning. A baby needs to stay at home for at least first 40-50 days after birth, not to be taken out even to a supermarket, if it's possible, never mind an airport.
Q: I am a holistic nutritionist and the mother of a 20 month-old gorgeous boy - who I made with a wonderful, conscious partner. I did a lot of research on conscious pregnancy and parenting prior to his birth, and now as a conscious parent, I see the world through very different eyes. I have made it my mission to create a comprehensive course on conscious conception, pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting, and of course, your work is so very KEY! With all my being, thank you for the amazing work that you do! I want to bring together all the amazing information out there, to make it easy for an average person to see how to stop damaging their children!
Unfortunately, I didn't do your course before I gave birth. It's hard for me to know that I missed some key aspects to my experience. We had it all set for a beautiful and peaceful home water birth, but we ended up in the hospital, with suction and epidural...NOT what I wanted for my first child.
Every time I listen to your interviews, I become more and more moved by your words and convinced that what you do is the key to changing our 3D reality. I also have a question regarding birth trauma healing. My son Kai ended up growing through a traumatic birth. The caesaran was offered immediately upon arrival to the hospital, but of course I declined, so at least he doesn't have that to deal with. I am wondering, is it possible to heal any birth trauma for him now, while he is still young, so that it isn't something he has to revisit when he is older? We are doing our utmost to raise a healthy, confident, heart-centered being with how we parent (we are attachment parents to the core), but if I could do more, I am all for it. If you have time to advise me on this I would be most grateful.
ET: You sound like my kinda girl :) Thank you for the work you are doing on this planet and the big contribution that you have made already with your child!
I hear your concern about your boy, but let me assure you that there are no accidents in the way we come and go. We have no way of really knowing our children's soul's agendas, why exactly they picked us for parents and need to experience their own kind of exit into this reality. It was not all up to you! He was an equal player in this big game.
In my courses we explore this aspect of the process of embodiment. So what can be done now:
First of all, just your Love, warmth and kind attention are the main healing ingredients.
Then - TOUCH! Massaging, holding, kissing, acupressure, Jin Shin Jitsu (also called Tara Approach, in a Westenized school of it, see Stephany Mines book 'We are all in shock') - it will help him know where his body is, mark the territory, so to speak.
Third (not necessarily in this order): he is also playing out your trajectory; so everything you accomplish in your own personal evolution of your soul and spirit, is going to be reflected in his experience of living. So when parents are clearing their stuff from their own formative period and learn the true grace of Joy, it lifts a lot of burden from the children. Of course, it's a general statement, which is already a default approach. Every rule has lots of exceptions, especially in these matters... Also, we can not negate the young person's own journey, which is a mystery...
To summaries: clear your own trauma and it will help him to clear out his.
Q: During my 38 years working in birth, I have come to a clear realisation that so much pain in people is aligned with their pregnancy, birth and the first few years after birth. I have learnt a great deal from Dr Janov and Dr Farrant and Dr Spensley in Australia. Over the years I have watched women experience very positive effects from primal therapy prior to giving birth as it works at a deeply cellular level to clear their path to a natural simple birth.
I'm very interested to know if you are familiar with Janov's work and whether it informs your own knowledge and practice. I think I will have a better understanding of the context of your workshops if you can tell me if and how they are related to primal therapy theory.
ET: I have heard of their work, but not very extensively. From what I understand, they are working with the birth trauma through recapitulation of the original experience at the time of the actual birth. My approach is from an opposite angle: I create the opportunity for participants to experience the new ‘reference point’ - create a new blissful memory of birth and a new limbic imprint of the formative period, regardless of what actually had happened. It's a specific technique of 'undoing' the original programing and creating a desired, positive one. It was not based on their work, but may be they are working in that same paradigm, I don't really know.
I came to America not knowing English and in Russia their work was not translated. As soon as I learned the language, I started working extensively and my crazy schedule is not leaving me much time to explore what other people are doing in this field. I always welcome the input.
Q: I gave birth to my beautiful son in the water birth at home with my husband and our midwife. The entire labor from start to finish was 2 hours and 20 min and very intense with one contraction after the next. I have observed that whenever I talk about his birth, my baby starts to cry.
My question to you is could he have some negative limbic imprint and if so is he too young to take your workshop? Do you have suggestions of things I should do with him?
ET: The way I see it, - it doesn't matter what we know or think about birth, if we think he has reasons to feel traumatised or not... just the fact that he is crying means that he has something to cry about. It is beyond logical realm of our cognitive comprehension.
So just help him out, without going into feeling dis-empowered, guilty, emotionally responsible for his crying - you did nothing wrong, first of all. I know how easy it is for a mother to jump into 'if only I could/should/know...' mode. There are no accidents in the way we come and go, if I've learnt anything from working with the Birthing Field for 29 years.
Yes, he is too young for my workshop, but anything body centered would easily help him at this point - skin to skin touch, massage, cranio work, EFT (you do it on him), Jin Shin Jitsy or the modern version of it - Tara-approach (google it)... - anything that would help him remove the emotional debris from his physiology.
Q: Have you been present for clients who have had orgasmic / ecstatic births?
ET: Many times. It is the most magical feeling... and when I looked around I saw faces of everyone present, full of awe and tenderness, and fell in Love with the Birthing Field.
Q: How do you see this makes a difference for babies short term, and as they grow? (i.e. healthy relationships, natural-high on life--- less apt to go to drugs...)
ET: You can quote from my film here, from the end: babies who were conceived and born in Love, (plus, not from the script) they have an undeniable sense of what's good and wholesome and they don't have fear in their eyes, they are free from aggression and fear-based mentality. Of course, the rest depends on what kind of parenting they will have. I am in touch with many children of my friends who were born in Russia in the birth camps at the Black Sea and just at home, in Moscow - they were truly amazing when they were young. But then, of course, they went to the Soviet schools and were exposed to all of the extreme difficulties of Russian reality. Each one of them had to live through a few things nobody should go through.
That's why we need to build communities, where those precious children can grow protected and supported, so all of their gifts to humanity can unfold fully and bring joy and happiness.
Q: I’m mesmerised by the picture of the mother and infant swimming on your site,
Can you tell me how the mum was able to get her young infant to swim like that?
ET: The infant swimming technique is a process that begins day 1 with the babies, who have the ability to hold their breath until they are around 6 months. It is a complicated, very involved technique and is only taught in Russia.
Q: Is it safe to dance during pregnancy?
ET: Yes, of course! A woman has to dance and move in order to stay happy and healthy! Of course, I would not recommend vigorous up and down jumpy moves, but find what give you joy and pleasure. This may be belly dancing or any kind of dancing! Spiralling does miracles for a lot of women.
Q: What should I do to have a perfect orgasmic birth?
ET: Oh my... please, don't put that kind of pressure and performance anxiety onto yourself. Your baby will come out the way she or he needs to come out. Your only job is to make yourself available. It's not only up to you or up to anything you know, or learn, or feel. It's mainly up to the baby's agenda for this lifetime.
The expectation of orgasmic birth is a sure way of not having it. It’s a set up! You can’t relax and surrender, and focus on birth, if you have to live up to some expectations! Please, simply allow what needs to happen, happen.
Q: How do I know what to do during my pregnancy?
ET: First of all:
Connect with the baby, ask to him/her to communicate what the needs/wants are and how to align your physiology to the greater balance. You are not alone in your pregnancy, the baby is your ally. Connect soul-to-soul and let yourself be guided. And watch my DVD - all 4 hrs of it!
Q: I want to give birth in the sea!! I am in Germany, but want to fly to New Zealand, because I love the nature there. Would you be able to be with me when I give birth there on a beach !?
ET: I am very honored by your invitation - that would be so wonderful! The only thing - my itinerary is very intense and structured already. I'm staying in each place for a short time to just do my workshops and then go to the next stop; my tickets are bought awhile ago and are non-refundable - and we have no way of knowing when exactly your due date will be. It’s impossible to time it!
The main thing is, you should not travel that late in your pregnancy. The best place to give birth is right where you live, so you won't need to travel far with a newborn. The best thing to do - pick a spot now and stay put, nest right there and find a good midwife. They are everywhere.
I wish I knew of a perfect place for you to go to, but sadly enough I don't. We are yet to create a space like that for women to come and have beautiful deliveries. At this point, I am traveling extensively. I have flown 120.000 miles this year alone. I am not equipped to provide delivery services, especially during my intensive training schedule. I receive numerous requests and inquiries such as yours on a weekly basis and my hope is that through my work, others will be inspired to create beautiful birth havens all over the world.
I am deeply regretting that I don't have anything more helpful to tell you, but I trust that your heart is in the right place and that the clarity of your intention will align you with the right direction and the perfect supporting delivery environment.
Another issue is the legal one. I don't know if it's even a legal possibility. Unless there are some good local home birth midwives, I don't think it's a good idea for you to fly all the way to NZ in such degree of uncertainty. What I know for sure is that traveling back so far with a newborn is definitely not something you should do.
At first I was so charmed by your willingness and passion for life. I apologize for leading you to believe that I can be a part of your birth. So sorry.
My other concern is that it will be still too cold to give birth in the ocean that time of the year around Nelson, where I will be teaching, or outside in the nature if you will birth at night. If being in Nature is one of the major desires that you have, it's better to find a warmer place.
Ask your baby for guidance and support. I feel your uncertainty, so does the baby. Communicate to your baby your situation and assure that together you can solve this puzzle. Connecting with your baby - soul to soul - is your main direction right now. You are a team, you are not alone in it. Your baby is your partner. And from where she or he is watching, the angle is very different, which is very helpful. It's not the willingness to travel on the other side of the globe that you need, it's finding your own center, within yourself, and ground your energy in a most real, powerful way. And that you can do anywhere.
There are helpful people everywhere, including right where you are. You just need to change the angle of perception in order to be able to find them. Please, open yourself to what your baby really needs. And allow yourself to receive real help and be guided.
Q: Who were your teachers?
ET: We did not have anybody to ask our questions, address our concerns to, or learn from in Russia in the 80ies. The existing medical model was so far from what we wanted that none of us even considered going to midwifery school. Medical schools were not teaching how to avoid or at least minimize the birth trauma for all involved. Therefore we had to come up with our own answers. The main source of inspiration was a man(!), Igor Charkovsky, who was as far from birthing or a medical field as it gets. He was a swimming instructor back then. But mainly, he was, and still is, a dreamer, a lover of Life. And he knew water. He understood what the watery environment did for the body, how much easier it is to move and rest in water. He was also on a spiritual path of service to humanity and was seeking his own answers to many existential questions of his own. So for many years, since the early 60ies, one woman at a time, he was single-handedly creating a gap in fear-based social habit of seeing delivery of the baby as something terrifying, violent, removed from the context of life...
At that time nobody heard of waterbirth - no self-respecting doctor would think of such a thing! Igor was introducing this new birthing paradigm patiently, against all odds and socially acceptable habits of perception. In 1982 I was one of those women... I listened... I understood the implications for the quality of our life that he was talking about. I went into action. Like something got turned on inside me. And I was one of many. The whole new program of preparation for conscious birth was created within the next 2 years and it took like a wild fire. It was all very, very exciting!
Q: I want to thank you for the most beautiful journey that you took me on via your DVD "Birth as we know it"! So wonderful, enlightening and inspiring!
I am trying to choose a degree course to study. I'm struggling deeply to choose between studding Midwifery or Osteopathy/Chiropractic and the more information I learn the harder this choice seems to be. I feel I understand the role of an Osteopath or Chiropractor very well due to much experience myself and also shadowing. Midwifery on the other hand is much harder to know deeply without intimate experiences but I feel a deep connection to the potential of every birth. I'm aware that with any degree you must trawl through much knowledge that will be frustrating and disappointing, I think this particularly in a training to become a hospital midwife but if this is the best route at this stage I'm excited to embrace the challenge on.
Whatever I choose, your 'way', your philosophies and truths are so inspiring to me and that is where I see myself. I would not be able to be a career National Health Service Midwife employed by the state, I think my soul would suffer too much.
My question now you know a little of my background and thoughts, is, what would you advise a young woman embarking on a life in the world of birth to study to have the best chance to go deep into this beautiful world?
Osteopathy/Chiropractic specializing in all things birth and babies Or a Midwife with a difference?
ET: Amazingly enough I hear that same dilemma from many women nowadays, who want to embrace the healing capacity that they all possess. The truth is that this division between the two venues is artificial, it does not exist in Nature. Where do you put the border for one of them to end and another one to begin?
My answer would be: you need them both; but also there is a lot of info in both schools that you will never need in your practice if you were to maintain your focus on the holistic approach of embracing a person's spirituality, karmic involvements, current emotional landscape, etc... and have the skill to guide your clients through that maze around the medicalized approach to their health which would be a mandatory part of the curriculum in both places.
Another answer of mine would be - it doesn't matter which one you choose, you can be both, really, learning the second one as a passionate student of life that you are. Explore the second one freely to the degree of your own reference point of interest. Do you really need a paper that says you know your stuff? Invent your own line of work that will embrace both and give it your own name. Then teach others to do the same :) There is a lot of request for it out there!
Q: My boyfriend and I just broke up... we are such a mess...
ET: Oh, dear... bless your heart!
...the main thing to remember is we all are doing our best in any given moment, honestly pursuing what we believe in the moment is for our greater well being. There are very few people out there waking up in the morning thinking: 'today I'm gonna do all I can to screw everything up!' The rest of us are on a quest to figure out the way to health and happiness. And even if sometimes it does not look like it, it doesn't make it not so. Everything IS unfolding perfectly, in it's divine order. Whether Life GOES ON with or without us is our only game. I know you know this, but sometimes we need someone else to remind us.
Q: Please tell me what is the recommendation regarding sex during pregnancy? Acceptable or not? If so why and for how long? for example, okay up the the 8th month or so?
ET: There is no one answer that fits all couples. Some prefer not to have sex during pregnancy at all, some do it all the way through 9 months. It depends on the quality of intimacy between the future parents and the quality of their sexual interaction.
Also it depends on specifics of the woman's sexual history, if her pelvic floor was previously traumatized or not, due to previous deliveries or rape history, her general health and sexual appetite. As you can see, lots of factors playing in. She is the one to decide, because she is the only one who feels how the baby is responding to it.
Q: What is the recommended minimum time for breastfeeding the child?
ET: I don’t believe there is a recommended minimum or a general answer. Who is there to say what is good for your baby? One thing is clear - if the baby lost the mother's milk too soon, before the baby was ready, without good reason, it's very traumatic for the baby. The one exception is if the baby is allergic to something in the mom's milk.
Let the baby tell you when it's time. As long as they both are enjoying it. There are lots of happy babies still nursing at 2-3 years. Babies have a way of clearly communicating themselves. They are very conscious of you and of their own needs - not cognitively, not verbally, but nevertheless, very aware. Learn your baby's language and you won't need to ask some strangers about what your baby needs. Good luck in this fascinating journey!
Q: How long has water birth existed? Is it a new invention? Or do you know about any researcher that might have information about historical water birth?
ET: Thank you for your inquiry! To my knowledge, there are no well documented historical examples.
I was personally told by Hawaiian Kahunas, by New Zealand Elders, by Australian Aboriginals that they routinely practiced it way before the white people settled in their land, but none had any documented proof.
Q: I carry a lot of anger about the way babies are being born in the hospitals. I have worked with this consistently, but realised I am still really mad about it, and I have been in such a state of denial about it that I had all but closed the door on it. However, I have a client due to birth in 6 weeks and I want to make a business of supporting women in labour. I feel that I have to come to some sense of acceptance that these are the choices that women are making of how to birth their babies and that my job is to support women in my care to the best of my ability.
I HAVE been doing that for years, and yet, it seems that I still carry lots of anger at the abuse of women I witness in my hospital. I feel within me, the anger of the newborn baby, who feels she had no control over what happened to her. The whole birthing process scares me. I don't know what to do about it. I had pushed all of this so far away from me that I believed that I didn't want to do midwifery anymore... but, I do. I miss it. How can I change this within myself........ do you have any suggestions?
ET: I hear you... it's a difficult position to be in...
I know that anything I'd say will be just words, the sense you have is a deep-seated one, needs to be dealt with on the actual physical level to move that energy - did you try ecstatic dancing? I'm sure there are ongoing classes somewhere in your area - they are everywhere.
Another thing I have heard from many people is that watching my 'director's commentaries' on my DVD really helped, because there’s tons of material there. One person watched it 17 times and felt completely reprogrammed from her terror of birthing field afterwards. I think that when we are really 'mad' at something, the real cause was that we ourselves were on the receiving end of that once. When we expand our nervous system to view it as one of our experiences we had, but we don't have to completely identify with it, - we give ourselves permission to gain a distance from it, and start seeing that we have a choice in how it affects our present condition. It gives enough of a break to take a breath to acquire a new skill - open to a possibility that we can have a different level of effectiveness and functionality in life, other then in a permanently contracted state 'modus operandi'. So our automatic reaction of getting 'mad' or 'hurt' is delayed and we can chose a different perspective.
We have to be effective in order to change the situation. When we just loose the heart in contraction of anger, we are multiplying misery, instead of helping anyone. It's never about 'them'. 'They' are just mirrors of what's inside. These women in the hospital need you to be free from your anger.
Q: I hope you will discuss in your upcoming interview the massive, sometimes fatal birth-canal-closing/spinal manipulation child abuse crime of OBGYNs. If there are enough people REPORTING their crime, it might be possible to end it! OBGYNs and midwives use semisitting and dorsal delivery thereby routinely closing birth canals up to 30%. This obvious obstetric negligence has been known to medicine since early last century. For clinical cites from the medical literature - see Gastaldo TD. Letter. BIRTH. 1992;19(4):230-1. http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/bir/19/4
OBGYNs sometimes pull so hard they rip spinal nerves out of tiny baby’s spinal cords. Some babies are DYING and OBGYNs are LYING to cover-up.
ET: I hear your urgency, concern and desire to make things right. I am also very passionate about this subject and in the last 28 years of working in this field, I've learned a lot about effective strategies of reaching out to millions of people, and getting away with my work.
I found it very ineffective to throw my body under the tanks of this big machine that keeps harming women. Instead, I steadily and kindly speak of what's possible, showing what we can achieve if we want to, and softly inviting people to hear me.
That turned out to be the best way to get 'them' to listen. In fact, I do have lots of doctors coming to my workshops and lectures and in a non-threatening environment they feel safe to ask questions that they wanted to ask but could not ask in their medical schools without being ridiculed.
Trust me, they are not the 'bad guys'. They just don't know any better, they are honestly doing their job, what they were taught to do and thinking they are doing a good job. How are they supposed to know that giving birth is a natural bodily function if they only see the opposite?
Manipulating with laboring women and babies is the way they've learned to cope with their own birth traumas, sheer terror of being born many years ago. That memory stays in the body, and in their medical schools there is no mentioning about this mechanism, called 'limbic imprint'. So they are as much of victims of the system as we all are. Untill we learn the ways of breaking the pattern of victim mentality and free ourselves from that 'mass hypnosis'. There are ways of doing it, but they all are kind and don't include pointing fingers. When we dump our rage on others, we only create more of what we want to vanish. There is cosmic irony in it... So, instead of attacking 'them' we can just offer the info in a way it can be received. Our goal is not to create more drama and battle, but switch the energy field around birthing matters.
Do you hear me? Thank you for your willingness to put yourself out there and for your understanding of the importance of this work. It takes a lot of courage to see that connection.
Let's accomplish the most we can without getting burnt. There is no gain in self sacrifice. Only a waiste of a perfectly good life :) We can have the cake and eat it too. The main reason for me still doing my work and not getting burnt at the stake this time on planet Earth is because I am not waisting my life force on being angry with 'them', not accusing, blaming, confronting, venting my rage...
Q: Here is a quote that made me think of our conversation that talks about benefits of grief:.
Buddha: "Suffering, if it does not diminish love, will transport you to the furthest shore."
ET: Thank you! Yyes - 'if it does not diminish love' - is the key condition; - unfortunately, it's extremely rare when it doesn't diminish it... How many people do you know who were able to do that? one? two? Versus millions of those who were broken by their pain... Of course, it's a beautiful quote and a simple truth, but I've witnessed very little examples of it... Wish there would be more, given how much suffering there is... Actually, all organized religions of the world are teaching to humbly cope with pain and expect relief only after death or when you learn to be out of the body... I don’t agree! I think we can bring heaven to Earth! Feel good about having this body - it’s a miraculous instrument that our Creator gifted us with, we just need to learn to use it wisely.
In the mean time, I'd do everything I can to prevent our species' addiction to suffering.
Q: Please, write a couple of sentences and share YOUR beautiful wish for women of the world, Elena.
ET: What I wish for the women of the world today is to get to know, understand and appreciate each other. I wish we learn to see each other's struggle and strength with respect and compassion; support each other's needs, desires and beauty with appreciation; build each other, so we can raise our children in a big safe tribe, in which peace and common sense prevails.